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Wishmakers on Campus® Fundraising Ideas

Wishmakers on Campus® projects are limited only by your imagination. You can select from some of the ideas listed or come up with an inspired idea of your own. Remember to get approval from Make-A-Wish® Central New York before launching an effort.


“A-thons” are a popular way to raise funds, build a community of support and raise awareness of Make-A-Wish®. Participants take pledges for every increment of the activity that they do. Some “A-thon” ideas include walk-athons, bike-athons, bowl-athons and dance-athons.

Try a dance-athon. Reserve your school's gymnasium or cafeteria or work with a local pub. Charge an entrance fee or ask students to collect pledges from friends, family, student organizations or local businesses to participate. Determine a time frame for the marathon: we suggest twelve hours. Ask local businesses to donate refreshments or door prizes for the participants. And think of fun themes for each hour i.e. the 70's hour, and devise activities to keep dancers motivated, i.e. play the hokey pokey, do the limbo, etc.

Dance Athon

Battle of the bands

By sponsoring a music competition and offering a small cash prize to the winning band, your organization can raise a sizable amount of money for your activities. Depending on the size of your campus, you may even be able to charge a small entry fee for the competing bands to boost your fundraising results beyond just ticket sales.

Battle of the Bands

Have a Bowl-A-Thon

One local college has a bowl-a-thon as a Greek Week activity each year. They collect pledges based on the number of pins they hope to knock down. If they collect five cents per pin per sponsor and score 100, they'll collect a $5.00 donation per sponsor. The student that raises the most money wins a prize. Ask your local bowling alley to donate a few lanes for the event. You could also charge a flat fee for each player to participate.


Car Wash

A few buckets, sponges, some mild dish detergent, soft towels, water and lots of elbow grease are all it takes to turn a few spare hours in to extra cash. Prices can range from $2-$5. Three volunteers per car is the rule of thumb. Best locations are gas stations and shopping mall parking lots.

car wash

Casino Night

You can have your own casino night by allowing individuals to gamble with monopoly money they receive for paying an entrance fee at the start of the evening. The "gamblers" will use this money to purchase prizes donated by the community. You can make this exciting by mixing up how the prizes are auctioned off. ("Big prizes" or "little prizes" may come up for auction at any time)

Casino Night


A raffle is a very basic fundraising technique that relies on selling tickets with the "bingo" chance of winning a prize or series of prizes. Local businesses or community members can donate the prizes or the prize itself may be sharing in the cash pot created by the raffle tickets. A twist on this idea is to have participants sell a mandatory amount of tickets.


Tailgate parties

Your college’s home football games present the perfect opportunity to host tailgate parties. By serving up barbecue or other gridiron staples to hungry guests, your group can often attract large donations with a small initial investment.

Tailgate party

Silent Auction

A Silent Auction is where a group of individuals bid on items/prizes which have been gathered in the name of the organization and its mission. In order to be a bidder, participants will have to pay an entrance charge. The bidders acknowledge there bid through body language such as hand or head signals or through raising prepared placards. For this type of auction you will need someone to be a caller.

Silent Auction

Press Contact &
National Fundraising Programs

Dyana Smolen
PR/Communications Manager 
5005 Campuswood Drive
East Syracuse, NY  13057

Phone : (315) 475-9474
Fax : (315) 475-9476

Make-A-Wish® Central New York
5005 Campuswood Drive
East Syracuse, NY 13057
(315) 475-9474
Toll Free (800) 846-9474